International Studies & Programs

The Scholars

Every year, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars program welcomes new undergraduates and graduates from sub-Saharan Africa to Michigan State University's campus. These Scholars have demonstrated academic talent and have a personal commitment to give back to their countries.

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Roland Ofori Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Roland received his master's in agricultural, food and resource economics, with a specialization in environmental and resource economics. Prior to coming to MSU, he was working in the Energy, Oil, and Gas Unit at the Ministry of Finance in Accra. He believes that earning an advanced degree through The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program will equip him with advanced knowledge in resource economics, and the necessary skills he needs to contribute more meaningfully and effectively to the Ministry's efforts at prudently managing Ghana's petroleum revenues for accelerated growth. Ofori says, "Ghana's good example of the fine and judicious implementation of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act has given me evidence that African economies can avoid the dangers and plights associated with the mismanagement of natural resource revenues."

William Yakah Cohort: 2015
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Neuroscience
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: William is an undergraduate student majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. From a young age William has served as a leader, and has been involved in many volunteer activities that gives him the opportunity to make meaningful impact to his community. He has observed that quality healthcare and education are not easily accessible to underserved communities. He is the President of Students for a Healthy Africa (SAHA) and an executive board member of Ghana Educational Collaborative, two non-profit organizations that promote quality healthcare and education in Sub-Saharan Africa and Ghana respectively. He believes that quality education and healthcare are not privileges but basic rights, and he looks forward to making revolutionary contributions in these sectors in Ghana and Africa.

Jorem Awadu Cohort: 2014
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Rehabilitation Counseling
College: College of Education

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Biography: Jorem holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Community Psychology from Makerere University in Uganda and now a Master's from MSU in Rehabilitation Counseling (2016). His area of expertise and contribution is to assess, create and modify vocations for people with various disabilities while helping them to succeed.

Eben Ansah Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Ebenezer received his master's in Community Sustainability in 2016. His goal after graduating is to become a Rural Development Economist. In this role, he will generate sustainable solutions for rural areas with agricultural development problems to improve the quality of life for the local community. Ebenezer hopes that his experiences and knowledge will have a major impact on the economic activities and livelihoods of the people in his home country of Ghana.

William Njobvu Cohort: 2014
Country: Zambia
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Economics
College: College of Social Science

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Biography: William is an undergraduate studying economics. He plans to return to his home country after completing his studies at MSU in order to bring about economic gain and improve the livelihoods of the people in his community and in his country. "My studies at this university will help shape my understanding of the economy of my country and the world," says Njobvu. "With this knowledge, I will be able to help build the foundations of the change I want to see in my country. And with the different and new society values that I will gain here, I will be able to incorporate them with the social norms of my culture back home and help people understand the world better—and what needs to be done to make it a better place."

Felix Ishimwe Cohort: 2015
Country: Rwanda
Level of Study: Undergraduate
Major: Geological Sciences
College: College of Natural Science

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Biography: Felix is an undergraduate scholar majoring in agribusiness management. He is also a graduate of Bridge2Rwanda Scholars program, an organization that selects and equips talented African students with entrepreneurial servant leadership skills to attend global universities and return to their home countries to make a positive impact. After finishing high school, he volunteered in an orphanage in Kigali where he tutored former street kids and orphans. After graduating from MSU, Felix intends to return to Rwanda to develop his country's agriculture sector, working with institutions which promote farmers' development, especially in rural areas. His long-term goal is to create an agribusiness venture which will create jobs in his community, reduce income inequality, and foster the country's economic stability.

Aaron Thokozani Chikakuda Cohort: 2015
Country: Malawi
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Human Nutrition
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Aaron is a graduate scholar studying human nutrition and dietetics. Aaron holds a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and nutrition from the University of Malawi and a diploma in clinical medicine from Malawi College of Health Sciences. Before coming to MSU, Aaron spent time working in the pediatrics department in a central hospital, doing community service and nutrition research, and assisting university professors as staff associate in clinical nutrition. His primary interests are clinical dietetics, public health, rural development and poverty reduction. Aaron's goal is to contribute to the eradication of malnutrition on the continent and around the world. After graduation, Aaron would like to become a registered dietician and work with institutions of higher learning to help train dietitians in the health sector and clinical nutrition researchers. Aaron enjoys reading, jogging, making friends, and watching comedies and documentaries.

Timothy Nakedde Cohort: 2014
Country: Uganda
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Plant Breed, Genetics & Biotechnology
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Timothy received his master's in plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology. He developed a passion for this field of study during his undergraduate years when he visited the National Agricultural Research Organization, the flagship agricultural research entity in Uganda, and was amazed at the progress they were making to address problems like disease and drought. He has returned to Uganda to become part of a new crop of agricultural researchers who use biotechnology to advance agriculture. Nakedde says, "We need to have a vibrant agricultural research capacity to overcome the problems of pests, diseases, and low crop yields that plague African agriculture."

Trhas Weldezghi Cohort: 2016
Country: Eritrea
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Trhas is a graduate student at MSU, majoring in Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. After completing her undergraduate studies, she worked as a Graduate Assistant in an agricultural college, located in rural areas of her country and with an invaluable opportunity to explore and assess the problems and difficulties of the rural communities. The graduate study in Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics will definitely be an impetus to address the pressing challenging of today’s world: food insecurity, Poverty, natural resource degradation. Trhas hopes to play a big role towards solving pressing problems in the agricultural sector and transforming it to modern and sustainable one.

Makafui Borbi Cohort: 2014
Country: Ghana
Level of Study: Graduate
Major: Food Science
College: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Biography: Makafui completed a Master's degree in Food Science. Before coming to MSU, she was a teaching and research assistant at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. She is also the Grant Officer at Dynamic Research Access Media (DReAM), an NGO, which locally communicates scientific research findings to her community in Ghana. She was actively involved in educating various communities on diseases such as diabetes and hepatitis. Growing up in Ghana, she realized how much agricultural produce is wasted during bumper harvests. In the future, she plans to set up a food processing factory in Ghana to process and preserve fresh agricultural produce to minimize post-harvest waste and increase access of nutritional foods.

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